Our Place

There is this place
I begin and end in every day—
My daily launch pad into life
Special only to me
As yours is to you

When I was five
Growing up in Martins Ferry
I knew nothing of James Wright
His poetry, or that we all have our place
That goes far beyond geography

Now, I feel my limits
Like a vise grip, applied to unspeakable places
Places we all know
Places where we begin
And eventually end, placelessly

On a Gray Sunday Morning in Solemn Gratitude We Wait

Gray Sunday morning
Sparse raindrops, not yet a shower
No birds, yet the feeders stand filled
Only the sound of the wind
Rustling the turning leaves
Who know their time comes soon to change

Something inside me hopes for sunshine
Warming light, setting butterflies afloat
Toasting late September leaves soft yellows, reds, oranges and golds
No sun, no shadows, just bare white and gray—
In between colors, neither here nor there
Until then, we wait in solemn gratitude

Roadside Reincarnation

Parts of us—
That old blue-gray Plymouth
Sittin’ along a quiet country road
A road less traveled everyday
‘cept for the drag racin’ hooligans
Livin’ over in Partsmith
And the old farmer
Who drives by every Tuesday and Friday
His collie hangin’ out the window
Takin’ last breaths of air

Slowly rustin’ away, bit by bit
Awaitin’ our day of reckoning
Total release from all holdin’ us here
That right moment—
When we disappear
Cease to be the old Plymouth
Then come back again
This time, a ruby red Porsche 911

Inspired by this.

In a Dream, Finding Lost Parts of Myself

Last night, in a dream
I discovered lost parts of myself
Fragments, bits and pieces, slivers of my life
Found all together
Stacked in a pile
On the bottom of an empty trash dumpster

Such intense joy
Finding in one place
All that I’d lost, thrown away, forgotten
Tears filled my eyes
Knowing these parts of me still existed
As tattered pictures, drawings, letters
Old wristwatch bands, key chains
Even a chain given me by my Dad

Those close to me were there—
My wife, mother, father, others
But they couldn’t help directly
The discovery was mine alone to unearth
To grasp with my own hands
At the very bottom of the psychic dumpster

Not all dreams are the same
Though there is but one dreamer for each of us
Some would say this one—a BIG dream
Significant to healing parts of my soul
I had discarded, mislaid, just plain forgotten

I felt Dad’s presence
Even as he lay dying
In a bed in Tupelo
Dreaming his own dreams—
Last dreams in his dreamer’s final sleep
He told me the chain was once his, now mine
A gift given long ago

This chain—more than a material object
Something deeper, holding us together
Connecting us through our dreams, and more
This chain—the great chain of being
Larger than that connecting a father and son
This chain—linking us to ourselves
To the deepest parts of our soul we can imagine

What was lost, now is found
Resting in full view on a nearby shelf
Awaiting my hand
When I’m ready
To touch, open, bring back to life
What I thought dead and gone

All Eventually Comes Undone

I look around
The world seems to be falling apart
Maybe it’s just me, I think
So, I ask others
To see what they think

They tell me about their pain
How the scales have tipped
And how they feel exposed
Rubbed raw, abandoned
Forgotten for who they really are

They talk about the economy
How it’s tanked, not getting better
Life supports they say
Won’t prevent the inevitable—
The eventual fall of what can no longer stand

I have my ideas—about the economy, our spiritual condition
And everything else
Not to be morbid, or fatalistic
But much of what we’ve been holding onto is over
Gone, giving way to something new

What’s old must die
Not that it’s willed, but there’s no pretending
What we’re used to will change
Surely as today’s sun will set
And tomorrow’s will rise unremembered

There must be something we can do, I think
After all, doing is what we do best
Then I remember—
All that is comes undone
By what is constantly unfolding

Hello Readers

Hello Readers:

It’s interesting that an average of 900 to 1,000 people visit this blog every day, yet only 3-5 people leave comments.

I would like to get to know my readers better. If you enjoy my poetry, please leave me a comment and let me know. I am also open to your constructive criticism on how to improve my poetry. Finally, please tell me a little bit about yourself, whether you are a longstanding visitor or a newcomer.

Consider this an invitation to get better acquainted.

Thanks so much.

Don Iannone
The Poetic Alchemist

PS: This is sticky post (sticks to the top of my blog like chewing gum under your 3rd grade desk. There are poems below it. Enjoy!

Those Who Watch But Cannot See

They love it—the voyeurs
Those who live by watching
Vicariously they live, feeding on others
Unable to see themselves
Even when they look in the mirror

The sun sets, suddenly, without warning
A glorious sight, but they missed it
Ever so subtle orange-yellow colors
Like those in first grade
When our crayons defied all lines
And when we cared only about life’s true colors

Yes, they missed the sunset
As their own heartbeat escapes them
Lurkers, mesmerized by others’ stirrings
Life for them—a spectator sport
To be watched, not lived

Tempted as we are—
We shouldn’t watch the watchers
That makes us just like them—
Blind, lifeless, empty
I say live!
Fill yourself with life
No need then for watching

Forget the Lies Today

False smiles, broken promises
Landfills of sorrow today
Tumbled hopes, shattered dreams
Long lost black and white photographs
Snapshots, another time, another day

For once, see the world clearly
The one moving through your veins
Forget the make believe ones
The one you lived yesterday
The one you planned for tomorrow

Stop pretending not to pretend
We all do it
Liars always know liars
They mock desperate lost fools
No absolution for their ways

Take your last chance
The one slipping between your fingers
Forget all coming before it
Let it lead your aching heart
Slowly dance, forget the lies today

Going Beyond Our Own Wishing

Did you ever wish
That somewhere along the line
Life would grow easier
More within your grasp
Less unpredictable
Further from what we all fear—death

Did you ever wish
Somehow those deemed lost
Might find their way
Might mysteriously survive
Like last minute sunrises and sunsets
Anything but a final ending

No use expecting or wishing
That truth will instantly clean up
Your bad and lost dreams
For what takes a lifetime to come
Also takes as long to pass
We must go beyond our own wishing

Pausing on a Late Thursday Morning

Blue sky, late Thursday morning
Sparse white clouds, to their music they play
Silver-green tree tops seem much closer
Out-stretched arms reaching my way

So many mysteries, all around me
Things no need to say
Causing my mind to wander
Far and wide, just beyond today

Bright sunshine on the driveway
Exposin’ cracks every which way
I see them, but forget them
The pavement is here to stay

Off in the distance, a siren
Cries of help, just before noonday
Sudden brisk wind from heaven
Sweeping all tears away

Watching Two Hummingbirds Embrace

Two hummingbirds danced in half circles
Tilting slightly into the white morning sun
Behind the sleeping, now drab cone flowers
Their beaks touched ever so gently
As parting lovers might embrace
Until their time comes once again

It all seemed so natural, unrehearsed
Without expectation
No lingering for tears
No quiet desperation
Not even the slightest clinging to life
Two angels, wings aflutter in divine harmony

In the presence of such a miracle
How can you not be changed, even transformed
I cried, like a child wanting to be held close
To hear mother’s heartbeat
To hear the fluttering wings of angels
Hovering above me as I sleep

Me and My Shadow

Not the song sung by so many
But a way of saying
Something of us lurks
Beyond what we most often see

Just the other day
I walked in the noon day sun and watched
How my shadow followed me
Just about everywhere I went

In a much deeper sense
Our shadow abides, just beyond our conscious grasp
Carl Jung would say—
The unformed, non-integrated parts of us

On a sunny day, we’re wedded forever
To that faint outline of our being
That appears always one step behind us
One degree separating us from the moment to come

Shadows, like mirrors, remind us
Even when we’d rather forget
That life unfolds moment by moment
Dispelling all myths we are eternal

Of my shadow I ask
What is it that you bring
That will save me from the setting sun
The pain of ice cold darkness

As so often I’ve found
And surely you’d agree
Our shadow is always there
Even when no sun does appear

Nancy

We lost a friend, a wonderful neighbor
She lived for others
To Nancy, Mother Nature was the Mother Queen
Without her, an empty spot will remain on Deepwood
For a long, long time

A teacher, constant learner she was
Life’s mysteries, more than simple puzzles to solve
Each day, much more than the visible conquest
And much more than we can grasp
Until our own end comes, making it all clear

No need to eulogize Nancy
Those far closer will do that
But deserving of a special poem she is
Much as Emily Dickinson or Elizabeth Barrett Browning might give
So to Nancy, the ode of the eternal rose I sing

Life comes and goes
Much as the sun and moon rise and fall
Those seeing beyond themselves know
Heaven forever awaits
For without them, we are all lost

I think for Nancy
Life was a special language you learn
Like Mathematics or French
Even with all the words, something escapes us
But I think Nancy was OK on all this

Our Inner Mirror Leading Us Home

Psychic mirror, the soul
Reflecting all you are
All you have been, and
All you can ever become

It reflects what’s most important to you
Not your parents, children, friends, or anyone else
Reflecting perfectly what you need to know
To find your way home

We lose our way
When we forget
To look in our mirror
Reminding us who we are

In life, there’s nowhere to go
Despite what we might think, no destination
Every place, exactly the same
Every thing, all part of one

Look if you will outward, upward, beyond
Eventually your eyes fall back on the mirror
There you always find yourself, complete, without separation
And there you find your way home

Never Know When It’s the Last Time

Goodbyes come easy
When we don’t care
When there’s no reason to worry
This may be the last time

We never know, really
When goodbyes may be final
Last words, smiles, handshakes, hugs, kisses
Connecting two souls who’ve touched

Will we get another chance—
To greet each other again?
Odds lessen as we grow older
As the years behind us outnumber those ahead

All the more reason—
Make the most of each moment
Come rain or shine
Celebrate those we love, those forever touching our lives

No Use Hiding in the Darkness

At times we dwell
Where darkness falls and lingers
Places into which our hearts tumble
Like a ball bouncing down the cellar steps

We go there more willingly
Than our self-pity allows us to admit
At times, as easily as our breath erases
All signs of yesterday

Death is one thing—moving on, making room
For new things to be born
It’s a mistake for any of us
To think we’re too good to die

And it’s a mistake to believe
We can escape the inevitable
Hiding in the cellar or attic
Or any dark place in our lives

We fill our lives with action, words, other things
Even the best can’t stop the gift inside us
From moving on, transcending us
Returning always to its giver

As Autumn Nears

Autumn season, not far away
Colorful leaves on their way
Crimson, yellow, orange and gold
Frost a coming, air so crisp and cold

Summer sun, almost gone
Longer nights until dawn
Red-throated hummingbirds disappear
South they head with winter near

Look back, reflect upon those longer days
Clear fall moon shines bright, white cool rays
Birth and death, all part of one
Seasons join, together run

Stars seem brighter, pitch black sky
God speaks from tree tops oh so high
Harvest comes and it goes
Life’s questions linger, no one knows

The Day Grandpap Died

Dad, I remember when your father died—
That cold February day in 1958
I was home on lunch break from school
I was startled, your car was parked in front of the house
Mom met me at the door—
Sharing the news of Grandpap’s death

You didn’t cry
But I knew your sadness
It lingered in your vacant stare
Its weight filled the kitchen
I cried, and Mom whisked me into the living room
I felt for you, even though I had no words
To tell you how much

Once I glimpsed the tears in your eyes
As you lingered by Grandpap’s casket
That was enough for you
And enough letting me know
Your love for your father
We never really talked about any of this
Next day you returned to work

That was fifty years ago
For some reason
The memory is as vivid now
As the day we said goodbye to Grandpap
I hope you know how much I love you
How I wanted to tell you that
The day your father died.

Remembering an Old Picture


Dad, I remember an old picture
Just a little boy of five
I stood proudly in front of you
Your protective hand and arm about my shoulder
My arms clutching Moo Moo and Zippy—
My two favorite stuffed animals

You were so tall, nearly a mountain
Your hair, dark and wavy
So strong, seemingly eternal
Like some mythical god-like hero
Boys my age worshipped—
And I did

No idea what was on our minds
But we looked happy
We smiled the same way
Without trying or pretending
Whoever snapped the picture knew
This is how we wanted to be

Dad, I look at you now
Your eyes dark and hollow
Your hands still large but pale
I desperately wonder where your life has gone
All the more reason—
This picture means so much

Tulsa

Tulsa, a place Mom and Dad lived for a short time
Where Mom died, now twenty-two years ago
Where Oral Roberts preached
And broadcasted his ministry to millions
Including Grandma Secrist
Who faithfully watched his sermons during the 1950s and 1960s
On her old black and white Philco TV
That flickered hope into her life on Moore’s Run—
That sad and forgotten Eastern Ohio holler
Where Mom was born, and
A long way from Tulsa where she died

Tulsa, a place I’ve visited many times
Since Mom’s passing and Dad’s moving
To help the Cherokee Indians
With various plans and studies
Tulsa, a place I left this morning
Troubled about my Dad
Who lay dying in a bed in Tupelo—
Where he has lived out his last sixteen years

All this flashes into my mind
As I sit in seat 16F
Of a Continental flight from Tulsa to Houston
On my way back to Cleveland—
The place I call my home

From my plane window
I watch the sunrise spread across the eastern sky
Searching for answers
To life’s biggest questions—
Those questions each of us faces
In our own way and time

There is no question Dad will die in Tupelo
As Mom died in Tulsa
No real need for an answer to that question
There is no question—
That someday I will die
And so will you
Yet, all this seems so hard to accept
As I look down on Tulsa wondering why

How We Get There

I think back
Remembering
The life I left behind
The life forever hanging
On the wings of time

The very same wings and life
Carrying me moment to moment
Breath to breath
To new parts of myself
Parts yet unborn

You ask if I’ve changed
Since shedding my last skin
My eyes blink
A new world appears
No need to answer your question

I stare ahead
Where they keep the future
I only see what my eyes allow me
I am wedded to my feet
With one in front of the other, the future appears

Forest Sunlight

There is sunlight in the forest today
Sifting through the trees
Like a luminescent waterfall
Crushing all darkness below

There is sunlight in the forest today
Where fawn-spotted mushrooms grow
Where lurks the red-tailed hawk
Whose back shimmers in the sun’s white rays

There is sunlight in the forest today
Guiding home all those lost
Illuminating the trail by the little stream
We hear only when it rains

There is sunlight in the forest today
It falls on my uplifted face
Bearing my soul
To the heavens above